Despite my intuitive feeling that my art show might not happen this year (I submitted a notice of cancellation to the venue), I decided to move forward in action for my overall plan anyway. I used the art show date as a deadline to push myself. And now I am getting closer to where I want to be in my work. I have developed new artwork prints and product designs. The world is in chaos, but I am peaceful inside. It doesn’t mean that I don’t care about what’s going on, but I see no point in worry or complaint. I take necessary precautions where needed. I accept that this pandemic may take longer than we hope for it to pass, might as well settle in for the long haul. People are upset that they have to stay inside, questioning how real it is, how valid are the threats to justify it. I try a little everyday to work towards my goals, because I believe in making lemonade when life hands you lemons.
One such goal is working on my online art shop, adding new products and coming up with the best ways to present and package my art. In the past, I was reluctant to invest in the production of my work. I saw how others were using drop-shipping to sell their work. But after much consideration, I do not see it as a viable option for me. Perhaps it works for others, (or maybe in the future). But it is not for me. My preferred approach is hands-on. I want to be in control of production. I want make it special.
After an experience where a photo lab failed to send out my order, they allegedly lost all my prints and told me that they would reprint it immediately and deliver it to me. I do not like the idea that there could be unauthorized prints of my work floating around out there. That is why for prints that are not produced in-house, I offer a Certificate of Authenticity. In another experience, I was attending a warehouse sale for blank t-shirts from a printing company. I saw amidst the piles of t-shirts, that some were printed. Were they prototype samples for a customer? I don’t know, but it made me question; who knows where your designs could end up without your knowledge? It begs the question, how well do you know your suppliers? Do you trust that they will destroy all unauthorized samples or not sell them without your permission? That is why I have decided to produce as much of my own work where reasonably possible.
Admittedly, the audience for my work is very small. While I considered the option of using drop- shipping services like Printify or Society 6, to produce my designs and artwork, it is not a business model that works for me. Custom printers want to make a high profit margin for their print-on demand services, but they cut every corner on the cost of materials, leaving me, as the artist very little opportunity to reasonably mark up the items for a profit. The product quality does not justify the cost, in my opinion. As an artist,, I would have to be selling large volumes for this model to be worthwhile. I found the finished products very expensive for what it is, and I would have to order sample products for approval. The start-up cost would be very costly, meanwhile I could have s[ent that money and invested in my own production supplies.
I have relaunched my two Prince prints. The prints were originally produced by a lab the silver-halide method, which I love, but have decided to move on with printing in-studio. I currently have two options, mat and frame, or mat only.
The metallic paper I use to print on, reflects a subtle golden light from it when viewed at certain angles. It creates a stunning effect when viewed in person.
I also have the Prince Artifacts in a greeting card version.
And I was suddenly struck with inspiration to create these two new Prince-inspired greeting card designs. They are what I call the “cosmic duo”, as they are titled Cosmic Day and Cosmic Night. (And yes, for those of you well-versed Prince fans, Cosmic Day was an unreleased song title by Prince.) It was inspired by the ceiling murals at Paisley Park. In the sitting room area for visitors, is a painted ceiling with piano keys and a view of the night sky. There is also a version of it in the conference room upstairs. The central hall is covered with painted clouds. I find this interesting, because that is exactly what I dreamed of having on my bedroom walls when I was a kid.
I have two other Prince-related pieces. I was able to source some unused vintage Prince vinyl. It has the original Paisley Park labelling. They did not come with any record cover art. I hate to vinyl go unloved. I thought the 7-inch singles looked cool mounted on over my circle prints. So I created these two prints, and mounted the vinyl over it.
I actually have another Prince-related item that I’m working on, that I’m very excited about. I will fill you in on it when it’s ready.
Image above: “Behind the scenes” by Andrea Mai.
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